Page images

1. Liguria. 2. Gallia Cisalpina. 3. Venetia, including the Carni and Histria. 4. Etruria. 5. Umbria and Picenum. 6. The Sabini, Equi, Marsi, Peligni, Vestini, Marrucini. 7. Roma. 8. Latium. 9. Campania. 10. Samnium and the Frentani. 11. Apulia, including Daunia and Messapia, or Iapygia. 12. Lucania. 13. Bruttii.



History of the Ligurians-Boundaries-Description of the coast -Interior-Roads.

THE Ligures, termed Λίγνες and Λιγυστῖνοι by the Greeks, (Strab. IV. 203. Polyb. II. 16.) appear to have been a numerous and powerful people, extending along the shores of the Mediterranean from the mouths of the Rhone to the river Arno, reaching also into the interior of Gaul, and the valleys of the Maritime Alps. According to some accounts they had penetrated to the west as far as the borders of Spain. (Thuc. VI. 2. Scyl. Peripl. p. 4.) At present I mean to confine myself to that part of the nation which was included in the limits that have been assigned to Italy.

Of the origin of this people we have no positive information; but there is good reason for supposing that they were Celts, though Strabo distinguishes them from the Gauls. (IV. 128.) The story which is told by Plutarch of the Ligurians in the army of Marius, acknowledging the Ambrones as belonging to the same stock with themselves; the affinity of the term Ligur to the Celtic Lly-gour, or Lly-gor, together with other words evidently belonging to the same root, which Cluverius has collected a, may

[blocks in formation]

be considered as affording plausible grounds at least for the support of such an opinion.

Though the period of their settlement in Italy cannot be determined, we may safely affirm that it was very remote, since the Tyrrheni, themselves a very ancient people, on their arrival in Italy found them occupying a portion of what was afterwards called Etruria, and after a long struggle succeeded in expelling them. (Lycoph. v. 1354.) The Greeks, who were unacquainted with the real situation of Liguria, made that country the scene of some of their earliest and most poetical fictions. The passage of Hercules, (Esch. Prom. Sol. ap. Strab. IV. 183.) and the story of Cycnus were identified with it. (Virg. Æn. X. 185.) And it is not improbable that the fable of Phaethon's sisters shedding tears of amber, a substance which the Greeks called Lingurium, (Strab. IV. 202.) had its origin in the country which produced that substance, and gave it its name b.

Herodotus was better acquainted with the Ligurians, (V. 9.) and mentions them as forming part of the mercenary forces of Carthage in its wars against the Greeks of Sicily. (VII. 165.)

The conquest of Liguria by the Romans was not effected till long after the second Punic war. The Ligurians had joined Hannibal with a considerable force soon after his arrival, (Polyb. III. 60.) a circumstance of itself sufficient to provoke hostilities on the part of the conquerors; but there was another reason which rendered the subjugation of Liguria extremely desirable. It afforded the easiest commu

b Millin, Voyage en Italie, t. ii. p. 336.

nication with Gaul and Spain over the Maritime Alps, an object in itself of the greatest importance. The Ligurians long and obstinately resisted their invaders, when the rest of Italy had been already subjugated for many years. The Romans could only obtain a free passage along their shore of twelve stadia from the coast; (Strab. IV. 180. and 203.) nor was it till the Ligurians, after a war of eighty years duration, had been driven from every hold in their mountains, and whole tribes had been even carried out of the country, that they could be said to be finally conquered. (Liv. XL. 38. and XLI. 12 -19.) We are not acquainted with the form of government and constitution of this people prior to these events, but it is probable that it constituted a confederacy composed of numberless petty tribes, bound by their own laws, and acknowledging no superior head or authority c.

The Ligurian character does not appear to have been held in much esteem by antiquity; whilst it allows them all the hardihood and courage usual with mountaineers; (Cic. Agr. II. 35. Virg. Georg. II. 168.) qualities which were even shared in an uncommon degree by the weaker sex. (Diodor. V. 39.) It taxes them too plainly with craft and deceit to be misunderstood.

Apenninicolæ bellator filius Aunus Haud Ligurum extremus, dum fallere fata sinebant.

VIRG. EN. XI. 700.

where see the commentary of Servius; also, Claudian, Idyl. XII.

• Micali l'Italia avanti il dominio dei Romani, vol. i. c. 8.

a writer whom I shall often have occasion to cite.


According to the statement of Polybius, (II. 16.) the boundaries of the Ligurians in Italy seem to have been the Maritime Alps to the north-west, to the south the river Arno; but in the time of Augustus this latter boundary was removed northwards to the river Macra. (Plin. III. 5.) To the north and north-east the Ligurians ranged along the Alps as far as the river Orgus, Orca, which separated the Taurini, the last of their nation on that side, from the Cisalpine Gauls: south of the Po they bordered on the Anamani and Boii, also belonging to this last mentioned people.

The description of this portion of Italy naturally divides itself into that of the coast or country south of the Apennines, and that north of the same chain. Beginning with the former, the first place to be noAlpis Ma- ticed is the summit of the Alpis Maritima, which marked the limit between Italy and Gaul; Augustus having there erected a trophy, on which were inscribed the names of all the Alpine tribes he had subdued, from the shores of the Mediterranean to the Adriatic. Some slight remains of this monument Trophea are still to be seen at the small village of la Turbia, Augusti. a name evidently a corruption of Trophæa, situated about two miles above Monaco. The inscription, which is highly interesting and useful for the knowledge of ancient Alpine geography, is to be found in Pliny. (III. 20.) Ptolemy also notices the trophy, p. 61.

The Alpis Maritima was the earliest passage of the Alps frequented by the Romans; for the Via Au

d See D'Anville, Notice de l'Ancienne Gaule, Art. Alpis Maritima, et Tropæa Augusti.

Also Millin, Voyage en Italie, t. ii. p. 136.

« PreviousContinue »